Zechs grabs a hearty helping of the newly colored works of the classic TMNT comics from Mirage.
I have a confession before I begin this review. The first time I ever read Mirage's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles it wasn't in the classic black and white (I didn't even know about the difference until the mid-90s). My first exposure to the first volume by Mirage were actually in the trades done by First Publishing. They had striking color and kind of big compared to the normal sort of comic book trades out there on stands (they still are). So when I heard that current TMNT publishers IDW are now releasing their own colored volumes I decided to take a peak.
TMNT: The Works Volume 2 is IDW (more specifically Tom Smith's Scorpion Studios) attempt at a remastered colored version of the original Mirage work. So those thinking it'll be just reprints of those First Publishing trades think again. This is a complete overhaul that recolors each single page with a lot of plus's and one huge strike against it.
I'll start with the biggest positives. The colors match perfectly with the comic and at times do heighten the mood in the comic. For example the fight Leonardo has with the Foot Clan in the Leonardo Micro One-Shot looks amazing and even more epic. The colors of the Foot here (red eyes and all black) are absolutely threatening. The old First Publishing never really bothered coloring the Foot making looking rather no scary. Here, they look the choice of colors are utterly imposing.
Other examples were the color just leap out are in #9 “The Passing” where the Turtles and Splinter have to exorcise a ninja's spirit from the body of a normal New Yorker. The scene just looks so more impactful more than it does in the original B&W so kudos there to the colorist.
However, for all good things there is one major negative against this volume, namely the Shredder. I'm just gonna be blunt: the coloring job on him looks half-assed. The all black colors of his costume just do not work at all for the character and he just looks like a ink-filled stain on the pages. I just don't understand the coloring change and it doesn't work.
To those reading and saying, "Zechs, it isn't a coloring change." It is. Every colors in the trade match the characters from the original covers save one, Shredder. Even in the original cover to TMNT #10 is tainted now. In the original, the Shredder was done with some splashes of red and his non-bladed hands were flesh colored. The choices add a very dynamic costume that also distinguishes him from the rest of Foot Clan/goons.
In this trade, the cover coats every single inch of him in sickly purple color, save the exposed eye area, his helmet, and shoulder blades. The cover just looks horrible. Why would you change it? That's like changing the colored banadas of the Turtles in these volumes to multi-colored cartoon ones. If you're changing one element, change them all. If you're sticking to the original Mirage color template STICK TO THE ORIGINAL COLOR TEMPLATE.
I have no idea why IDW went with this change, but honestly that's the biggest problem with the entire trade and takes me out of reading it completely, making me skip ahead instead. When a comic is doing that, you need to go back and correct the error. Sadly, it's an edge First Publishing still has over it's modern rivals in IDW. Their version of the Shredder matches the cover, is VERY imposing compared to the other Foot Clan ninjas around him, and even has extra details added to him in a splash page (I still have no idea why). All the details and design of the character is lost. The Shredder just looks like a generic Foot Ninja.
Hopefully, in future volumes IDW will correct the slight, but the damage on this volume is already done. The Shredder parts just feel awkward when you have everything else colored so well. Heck the only time he looks properly colored is the nightmare sequence April has of him in #11. What the hell?! Why give him flesh toned color on his hands/arms there and not in his actual costume?!
That said, the modern colors do enhance the story. The pages do look more striking than they originally did in the original black & white and First Publishing Trades. Yet, to truly enjoy this trade you'll have to skip #10 entirely, which is tragic for me, since of the issues in this collection it features some of the best art from Kevin Eastman has done on the book. The flaw is just too major and glaring.
For hardcore TMNT fans look elsewhere to First Publishing trades or wait in hope IDW fixes this. New fans who want to see the book colored go ahead, but be warned. You'll probably be scratching your head too at why the Shredder just looks so off compared to everyone else in the trade. It pains me really, that such a serious coloring error brings down the entire book, but #10 and to a degree for that one panel of the Shredder in the Leonardo Micro One-Shot just does for me. It makes me skip pages instead of enjoying the entire story. When you're comic is doing that, than you're doing something really wrong. IDW PLEASE FIX THIS. You're doing a HUGE disservice by this grievous error. YOU NEED TO FIX THIS!!
2 out of 5
Written or Contributed by Zechs
READ THIS ARTICLE ON THE FRONT PAGE, HUMANS!